DOMS after a rugby game… you know what I’m talkin about

So it has been officially 2 days after playing a rugby game against Memphis. Our girls did awesome by the way and although we lost I felt as if our skills and our ability to work as a team has most definitely improved. Since I feel like shit and I’m pretty sure most everyone who played feels the same way, I figured I’d write about delayed onset muscle soreness, also known as DOMS. You know what I’m talkin about too… the morning after a game your whole body is aching and you wonder what hit you. You think that’s the worst of it all until the 2nd day rolls around and you can’t even get out of the damn bed!!
I was searching through the Strength & Conditioning Journals archive and am totally shocked to find only 1 frickin article about it from 1998!!! Are you kidding me? And I can’t even find anything about it in their most recent edition of ‘Essentials of Strength Training & Conditioning.’ That flusters me but in the older edition of the book it mentions that the reason for DOMS is not known definitely… which would possibly be a reason why there’s not a whole lot of info on it.
DOMS occurs 24 hours after strenuous exercise that your body is not accustomed to. The feeling peaks at around 48 to 72 hours after you exercise, which explains why you feel even worst the 2nd day. When you work your muscles hard you get wears and tears in your muscle followed by inflammation, which is what causes part of the pain. Another reason for the pain that was stated is due to unaccustomed eccentric (lengthening) movement of the muscle.
It’s not a bad thing that you experience muscle soreness, it only means that your muscles are working to become used to the stress that you’re putting on it. There have been studies that indicate you can’t really avoid DOMS, everyone gets it, but you can reduce the feeling if you train at submax prior to actual performance.
So you’re hurting… and you wanna know how the hell you can get rid of the pain. The pain will gradually go away with time, but some ways to alleviate the pain includes: ice, stretching, rest, heat, anti-inflammatory meds, massage, etc. Light exercise can help alleviate the pain as well… your muscles feel tight, so a brisk walk, swim, or jog will keep your muscles moving and ease the pain. Using heat is another way to reduce the pain because raising the temperature will increase blood flow, which increases oxygen, which brings in nutrients to help heal the area. Definitely have to take it easy to allow your muscles to recover, because if you try to continue to exercise those sore muscles then you won’t be performing at your best, and it could also lead to injury; if you must exercise then you can work the areas in which it’s not so sore. And definitely stretch those muscles! People sit around and watch tv all day and don’t stretch enough. Stretching, even just a little bit will help break the cycle of the tightness.
So next time you play rugby or do whatever you do to cause DOMS, it shouldn’t feel as bad as the first game of the season. Your muscles will learn to adapt.

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